“The project to build a new nuclear power plant in Lithuania is at the most advanced stage compared to similar projects in Europe. If Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia made a decision to launch the construction, we would get ready to do that [launch the construction] within three months,” Rokas Masiulis said in an interview to the Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza.
The project remained opened to Poland, which withdrew from it back in 2011, he said.
“Yes, Poland has withdrawn from this project. We respect that decision in particular as Warsaw has an ambition to build its own nuclear power plant. However, if Poland wants to rejoin this project, the door will always remain open,” the minister said.
Asked about the current relations between the two countries, which were described as the worst in history, Masiulis said that bilateral cooperation in the energy sector was strong.
“We don’t talk enough about our successful cooperation. As the first example, I could mention the energy bridge LitPol Link, which will connect the energy infrastructure of the Baltic countries with the European Union. Hardly anybody believed in the success of this project during preliminary talks in Brussels. And here we’ve got this surprise,” the Lithuanian minister said.
Masiulis also expressed trust in partnership with Poland in the construction of GILP, a Lithuania-Poland gas interconnection, worth 558 million euros, which should be launched in 2020.
According to the Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland is stalling the project in an attempt to obtain larger support from the European Union.
“Poland knows better what it has to do. I’m sure that we’ll sign the contract and complete the project by the end of 2019. The gas pipeline is one of the key EU projects and, similar to the power bridge, Poland is the only way for Lithuania and the Baltic counties to Europe. With the gas pipeline, liquefied natural gas terminals in Klaipėda and Swinoujscie our region will finally be active in the gas market,” Masiulis said.
In the summer of 2011, Lithuania chose Japan’s Hitachi as a strategic investor in the new nuclear power plant. However, the project failed to garner support at an advisory referendum held a year later. The incumbent government has not yet made the final decision on the facility.
Meanwhile, media reports said that the Energy Ministry started estimating whether or not Lithuania could implement the nuclear facility project in tandem with Hitachi, i.e. without regional partners.